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CFN Take: NIU Stalls In Poinsettia Loss

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 27, 2013


Northern Illinois Huskies 2013 ... Head Coach: Rod Carey


Northern Illinois Huskies

2013 Record: 12-2
8/31 at Iowa W 30-27
9/7 OPEN DATE
9/14 at Idaho W 45-35
9/21 Eastern Illinois W 43-39
9/28 at Purdue W 55-24
10/5 at Kent State W 38-24
10/12 Akron W 27-20
10/19 at Central Mich W 38-17
10/26 Eastern Michigan W 59-20
11/2 at UMass W 63-18
11/9 OPEN DATE
11/13 Ball State W 48-27
11/20 at Toledo W 35-17
11/26 Western Michigan W 33-14
MAC CHAMPIONSHIP
12/6 Bowling Green L 47-27
SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl
12/26 Utah State L 21-14
Utah State 21, Northern Illinois 14
Basically … Utah State battered and bruised its way to a tough win, getting up early on two Nick Diaz field goals and overcoming a 7-6 halftime deficit after Jordan Lynch gave NIU the lead on a one-yard touchdown run. The Aggies took advantage of a break to take the lead back on a five-yard Brandon Swindall catch, but they didn’t control the game until the fourth quarter following a missed Mathew Sims field goal, going on a 16-play, 80-yard drive finishing up with a Joey DeMartino touchdown run with just over four minutes to play. NIU forced a takeaway and scored on a 15-yard touchdown catch from Juwan Brescacin in the final minutes, but failed to recover the onside kick.

- Rushing yards: Utah State 168 – NIU 99
- Utah State RB Joey DeMartino ran 23 times for 143 yards and a score
- Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch completed 20-of-35 passes for 216 yards and a score with a pick, and ran 18 times for 39 yards and a touchdown
- Northern Illinois PK Mathew Sims was 0-2 on field goals missing from 37 and 29 yards out
- Utah State LB Nick Vigil made seven tackles with 1.5 sacks
- Utah State SS Brian Suite made a game-leading 11 tackles with a pick

Bowling Green 47, Northern Illinois 27
Basically … Northern Illinois lost its BCS dream as Matt Johnson threw five touchdown passes and Travis Greene scored twice in a blowout. The Falcons took a 31-13 lead into halftime on a Alex Bayer 12-yard touchdown catch in the final seconds of the first half, and then they withstood NIU’s momentum, overcoming an eight-yard Jordan Lynch touchdown run with 16 straight points to pull away, helped by a six-yard Greene touchdown catch and closed out with a 16-yard scoring run. Lynch tacked on a garbage time two-yard scoring run in the final seconds.
- Bowling Green QB Matt Johnson completed 21-of-27 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns, and he ran ten times for 33 yards.
- NIU QB Jordan Lynch completed 21-of-40 passes for 219 yards and a score with two picks, and he ran 26 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
- NIU was outgained 574 yards to 454.
- Bowling Green RB Travis Greene ran 26 times for 133 yards and a score, and he caught two passes for 23 yards and a score. Ronnie Moore caught four passes for 145 yards and a score.

at Northern Illinois 33, Western Michigan 14
Basically … Jordan Lynch set the NCAA record for the most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback with 321, scoring from 29, 36 and 37 yards away as part of a 27 point run to break the game open. Lynch found Juwan Brescacin for a ten-yard touchdown late in the first quarter, but Western Michigan answered with a one-yard Dareyon Chance run. The Broncos didn’t get back on the board until late in the fourth on a one-yard Antoin Scriven run.
- Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch completed 5-of-17 passes for 39 yards with a score, and he ran 27 times for 321 yards and three touchdowns.
- Western Michigan RB Dareyon Chance led the team with 34 rushing yards on 13 carries with a score.
- Northern Illinois averaged 7.9 yards per run, Western Michigan averaged 2.7
- Western Illinois averaged 5.1 yards per pass, Northern Illinois averaged 2.3

Northern Illinois 35, at Toledo 17
Basically … Northern Illinois won the MAC West by pulling away after a tough first 40 minutes. The Rockets held a 17-14 lead on Terrance Owens touchdown passes of 45 yards out to Alonzo Russell at the end of the second quarter and 36 yards away to Bernard Reedy in the third to answer a 12-yard Jordan Lynch touchdown run. But the Huskie D put the clamps down and Lynch went to work, leading NIU to 21 unanswered points with two touchdown dashes – highlighted by a 15-pay, 99-yard drive leading the way to his one-yard score for some breathing room. James Spencer put the game away with a one-yard touchdown run.
- Toledo turned the ball over four times, NIU didn’t turn it over.
- NIU outrushed Toledo 364 yards to 184
- NIU QB Jordan Lynch completed 17-of-22 passes for 202 yards, and ran 28 times for 161 yards and three touchdowns.
- Toledo QB Terrance Owens completed 17-of-29 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns with two picks, and he ran eight times for 22 yards.

at Northern Illinois 48, Ball State 27
Basically … Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois took control of the MAC West with a run of 21 unanswered points to break open a tight game. The two teams went back and forth with Ball State’s Keith Wenning running for a score and throwing a three-yard touchdown pass to Willie Snead, and Jahwan Edwards and Cameron Stingily each ran for short scores. But Lynch always had an answer with two touchdown runs and two scoring passes to Da’Ron Brown from 58 and 36 yards away, with the second one breaking the game open. Lynch’s 16-yard touchdown run gave the Huskies some breathing room, and Joe Windor put it out of reach with a pick six in the final minute.
- NIU QB Jordan Lynch completed 26-of-32 passes for 345 yards and two scores, and he ran 20 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
- Ball State QB Keith Wenning completed 35-of-49 passes for 324 yards and a score with a pick.
- Ball State RB Jahwan Edwards ran 29 times for 154 yards and a score, and Willie Snead caught 12 passes for 121 yards and a score.
- NIU WR Tommylee Lewis made 12 catches for 71 yards, and Da’Ron Brown caught eight passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns.

Northern Illinois 63, at Massachusetts 19, Nov. 2
Basically … Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch scored five touchdowns and accounted for 279 yards of total offense. The Huskies scored 21 points in each of the first two quarters. The NIU offense faced only two third downs in the first half, en route to a 42-13 halftime lead. Northern Illinois finished with 612 total yards and 354 rushing yards.
- Lynch’s 119 rushing yards came on 17 carries, for an average of seven yards per carry.
- Seven different NIU ball carriers registered at least one run of 12 yards or more.
- Northern Illinois produced three pass plays of at least 30 yards and two plays that covered at least 66 yards. Both of those last two plays went for touchdowns.
- Massachusetts RB Lorenzo Woodley ran the ball 38 times for 163 yards and one touchdown.

Northern Illinois 38, at Central Michigan 17
Basically … NIU’s Jordan Lynch set the NCAA record for the most yards run for by a quarterback with 316 with touchdown runs from five, one and three yards out. The Huskies trailed 14-7 in the first quarter on two Cooper Rush touchdown passes for CMU, but that was it for the fun. NIU outscored CMU 31-3 the rest of the way.
- There’s the Jordan Lynch we’ve all been waiting for. He ran 32 times for 316 yards and three scores, and he completed 20-of-30 passes for 155 yards and a score with an interception. He took control of the game and never let it go, leading NIU to 437 rushing yards.
- Everything seemed so promising for Central Michigan early, but the offense fizzled in the second half after Lynch and the NIU running game dominated. CMU could never establish Saylor Lavallii and the ground attack, but Titus Davis was Titus Davis with five catches for 109 yards and a score.

at Northern Illinois 27, Akron 20
Basically … NIU was in for more of a fight than it might have liked, giving up two one-yard touchdown runs to Jawon Chisolm and an 11-yard Tyrell Goodman touchdown catch with just under five minutes to play, but the Huskie defense held firm on two late Zip drives. Jordan Lynch ran for a touchdown and threw a 25-yard score to Desroy Maxwell, and Tyler Wedel hit two field goals on the way to a 27-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
- NIU hasn’t been sharp, but it keeps on winning against vastly inferior teams. Jordan Lynch was okay, leading the team with 83 rushing yards and a score, but he only completed 16-of-35 passes for 220 yards and a score. Akron didn’t even play all that well, but the Huskies were miserable when it came time to move the chains, converting 1-of-15 third down chances. The team isn’t playing well enough to take anyone for granted, but the schedule doesn’t get any harder until a mid-November date with Ball State.
- Akron got close, but after getting blown away by Bowling Green and Ohio, it couldn’t close against NIU. Kyle Pohl threw it 56 times for 262 yards and a score, but he threw a pick. The ten penalties didn’t help, but the defense did a great job time and again on third downs and it kept the NIU midrange passing game under wraps. The Zips should be better than 1-6, but they need to find some consistency on offense and they need to find a way to stop someone in the fourth quarter. What’s the cure? Play Miami University – Akron goes to Oxford next week.

Northern Illinois 38, at Kent State 24
Basically … NIU avoided the upset with 17 unanswered points on two James Spencer touchdowns and a 31-yard Matthew Sims field goal. Kent State battled in a see-saw game with Dri Archer returning a kickoff for a touchdown and taking a pass 66 yards for a score, while NIU got two touchdowns from Cameron Stingily – who ran for 266 yards - and a 53-yard scoring grab from Da’Ron Brown.
- The NIU offense rumbled at will with 698 yards, but it was a bit too much of a dogfight. Everything kicked in as the second half went on, and Jordan Lynch didn’t have to do everything thanks to Cameron Stingily, who handled the ball 37 times for 266 yards and two scores. Lynch being Lynch did his part, and while he threw two picks, he also threw for 244 yards and ran for 94 more.
- Dri Archer makes all the difference, but he needs the ball in his hands more. He only ran four times for 13 yards, and caught four passes for 80 yards and a score to go along with his kickoff return for a touchdown. He needs to have the ball in his hands at least 15 times per game. The defense has to be far more effective against the run after getting ripped up for 454 rushing yards.

Northern Illinois 55, at Purdue 24
Basically … Jordan Lynch threw three touchdown passes with two to Da’Ron Brown, and the defense and special teams got in the act in the second half with Jimmie Ward returning a pick 62 yards for a touchdown and Tommylee Lewis returning a kickoff 99 yards for a score on the way to a 41-10 NIU lead. Purdue had an early lead on a 44-yard Akeem Hunt touchdown catch, but a 38-3 scoring run put the game away.
- It’s the first time a current MAC team has beaten two Big Ten teams in the same season, with NIU beating Iowa to kick off the season. Watch out, America. NIU’s biggest opponent the rest of the way, on the way to another BCS game, is NIU.
- That might be it for Rob Henry under center for the Boilermakers. After struggling against Wisconsin, he completed 5-of-16 passes for 130 yards and a score with two picks. Danny Etling threw two picks, but he also completed 19-of-29 passes for 241 yards with two scores. He pushed the ball down the field better.
- Jordan Lynch didn’t have to run much, carrying the ball just nine times for 35 yards and a score. The less of a beating he has to take – completing 18-of-25 throws for 207 yards and three touchdowns – the better.
- Purdue moved the ball, cranking out 524 yards, but the five turnovers made the game a blowout. The team simply needs much, much stronger quarterback play.

at Northern Illinois 43, Eastern Illinois 39
Basically … Northern Illinois over came six touchdown passes from Jimmy Garoppolo and a 20-0 first quarter lead with 30 straight points helped by two Cameron Stingily touchdown runs and the first of two Keith Harris touchdown runs. The second came with just over eight minutes to play to give the Huskies a four-point lead, and then the defense finally came up with a stop. Jordan Lynch took over, helping the offense run out the clock and not giving Garoppolo a final chance.
- The Huskies have to get off to better starts. Last week it struggled early against a bad Idaho team, and this week it got down early to a high-powered EIU squad with an NFL quarterback in Garoppolo. The secondary might have been torched for 450 yards, but it also came up with two picks and it held late when it had to.
- Mistakes. NIU turned it over three times and committed 14 penalties for 119 yards. Fortunately, EIU joined the fun with 14 penalties of its own.
- Jordan Lynch might not have been the best quarterback on the field, but he ran for 189 yards and threw for 235 more. Garoppolo was brilliant, but Lynch ground out the win.

Northern Illinois 45, at Idaho 35, Sept. 14
Basically … Northern Illinois got down 28-14 in the first half, but turned it on over the last 37 minutes with a 31-7 run helped by two of Jordan Lynch’s three touchdown passes and a 61-yard scoring dash. Idaho made it a fight early with two of James Baker’s three touchdowns, and Richard Montgomery caught a 27-yard touchdown pass, but Lynch caught fire and NIU pulled away late.
- The long plane ride must have given Northern Illinois some problems. The Huskies were sleepy out of the gate, but Jordan Lynch once again showed why he’s an elite talent, righting for 159 yards and two touchdowns while completing 17-of-29 passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.
- Idaho played its best game of the year, but the defense couldn’t hold up. The three fumbles were a disaster – the Vandals aren’t good enough to make mistakes against a team like NIU. However, the passing game was explosive.
- This was an uncharacteristically unfocused effort from the Huskies. The two fumbles weren’t good, but the 11 penalties were the real problem. The defense turned up the intensity in the second half, but it was still too much of a fight.
- The Vandal defense simply couldn’t contain Jordan Lynch. It did a decent job against the NIU running backs, and it kept the long pass played to a minimum, but Lynch was Lynch on the move and Idaho’s linebackers couldn’t adjust.

Northern Illinois 30, at Iowa 27, Aug. 31
Basically … Last year, NIU lost in a heartbreaker to Iowa. This season, the tables were turned as the Huskies got a 36-yard Mathew Sims field goal with four seconds left to cap the comeback. Jordan Lynch threw his third touchdown pass of the game with just over five minutes to play to tie it, and Sims came through with his third field goal of the game for the victory.
- On the plus side for Iowa, there was a passing game. Jake Rudock threw for 256 yards and a score, and while he threw two picks and the team turned it over three times, there was finally a downfield connection.
- Jordan Lynch wasn’t Heisman-worthy, but he pulled out the win. He was bottled up for 56 yards on 22 carries, but he threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Again, he got the win on the road – the other stats don’t matter.
- A big, big concern for NIU – the pass rush. It was the big question mark coming into the season, and there wasn’t any real pop into the backfield. However, Jimmie Ward showed once again why he might be the MAC’s best defensive back with 13 tackles and a pick.
- The Iowa linebackers were terrific at keeping Lynch in check. Christian Kirksey made 14 scores with a fumble recovery for a score, and Anthony Hitchens came up with 13 stops. They didn’t let Lynch get outside in space.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited ... Dave Doeren was a terrific head coach, and it might be a new year with a new team, but almost the entire offense is back only losing receiver Perez Ashford and tight end Jason Scepler. The entire offensive line returns, Akeem Daniels and the running backs are back, and, of course, quarterback Jordan Lynch is going to be on all the preseason Heisman lists. New head coach Rod Carey is inheriting a heater that should average around 40 points per game without much of a problem.

Why To Be Grouchy ... The defense has to come up with some huge replacements. The Huskies were first in the MAC in tackles for loss and solid against the run and great against the deep ball, but they have to replace Sean Progar, Alan Baxter and most of the defensive front. Corner Rashaan Melvin and safety Demetrius Stone are gone in the secondary, and linebackers Victor Jacques and Tyrone Clark will be missed. There’s talent waiting in the wings, but it might take a little while for it all to come together.

What Needs Working On ... The pass defense is going to have to tight up against the stronger teams. Florida State’s E.J. Manuel took target practice in the Orange Bowl, and Toledo, Central Michigan, Ball State and Western Michigan had few problems pushing the ball deep. The overall numbers weren’t bad, but it helped to have Army, UMass, Eastern Michigan, Kansas and other passing-challenged teams to deal with. With so much defensive turnover, it might take a little while to tighten up with Iowa and Purdue up in September.

Non-Conference Games: at Iowa, at Idaho, Eastern Illinois, at Purdue
Games Against The East: Akron, at Kent State, at UMass
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 6-6
Likely Finish: 9-3

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: at Idaho, Eastern Illinois, at Kent State, Akron, at Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, at UMass, Ball State, Western Michigan

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Iowa, at Purdue, at Toledo

Schedule Analysis: Can NIU start out hot with a win at Iowa? Four of the first five and five of the first seven games are on the road, including a showdown at Purdue and a MAC championship rematch against Kent State, but it should be smooth sailing over the second half of the season with Akron, Eastern Michigan and UMass likely wins before closing out with key showdowns against Ball State, Toledo and Western Michigan. The time off comes before going to Idaho and facing BSU, but Toledo and WMU come within six days of each other.

Team Concerns For 2013: The Huskies have work to do on defense after losing seven starters including three up front. The run defense is going to need a little bit of help, and replacing linebackers Tyrone Clark and Victor Jacques will be a problem. The punt return game needs a little more production from Angelo Sebastiano, but it wasn't that bad. The same goes for a passing game that was efficient, but didn't come up with too many big yards. When Jordan Lynch can run the ball like he does, the passing game takes a backseat.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Running backs. The Huskies are loading up on receivers with Mycial Allen and Blake Holder two good-sized targets to develop. Corner Brandon Mayes was a decent get, and William Lee is a good-sized tackle out of Indianapolis, but it's the running back corps that's getting the most talent with Kendall Short a big runner out of Kansas and Draco Smith a darting speedster to add more flash.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 100. That Class Was Heavy On ... This year is about the lines; next year will take care of the skill players. Dave Doeren came up with a MAC title in his first season and now he’s pulling in a decent class, but not a great one. The quarterback situation is being addressed for the future and the always great Huskie offensive line is getting more prospects. Defensively, the stars are in the linebacking corps that should pay off relatively soon. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 94. That Class Was Heavy On ... 2012. New head coach Dan Doeren came to the party a bit late, but he didn’t need to do too much for a team already loaded up with young prospects. Doeren and his staff will have to do far more with his next class, but this one has a few decent players here and there like pounding JUCO transfer Jamal Womble, who should be a part of the rotation right away. Big offensive tackle Matt Killian will be an all-star sooner than later.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 114. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. The one area that didn't need an instant impact was the offensive backfield, yet two of the key players were QB Casey Weston and RB Jasmin Hopkins to upgrade the talent level. However, Jerry Kill loaded up mostly on defensive backs bringing in Demetrius Stone from the JUCO ranks and DeChane Durante to be a part of the safety rotation. Akeem Daniels isn't a big corner, but he can fly.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 91. That Class Was Heavy On ... The passing game. Head coach Jerry Kill got a full recruiting season to work, and he brought in some playmakers to beef up a passing attack that struggled last year. Quarterbacks A.J. Hill and Jordan Lynch are strong prospects, and while there aren’t any receiver standouts, there are a lot of them and they can move.


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